What Do Your GLSD Tax Dollars do for Green Lake?

In the last 60 years, the lake has faced negative impacts from increased shoreland development, intensive agriculture throughout the watershed, the advent of harmful aquatic invasive species, increasingly intense rainfall events, and many of the wettest years on historical record. These are significant challenges to overcome. As we work to meet our long-term water quality goals of a roughly 50% reduction in phosphorus loading to the lake, these are some of the programs the GLSD operates to help protect Green Lake.

AGRICULTURAL BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP) FUNDING – The funding of soft practices such as cover crops as well as structural practices such as sediment retention basins on farm fields is a focus of the GLSD. A sediment retention basin can cost anywhere from $25,000 to in excess of $60,000. Funding these projects annually through your tax dollars alone would require a significant increase in our GLSD tax levy. Therefore, GLSD staff have worked very closely with the WI DNR and our Lake Management Partners to acquire grant funding to get these projects on the landscape. The GLSD was recently notified by Eric Evensen of the WIDNR that the Targeted Runoff Management grant written by the GLSD on behalf of the Lake Management Team this past April, ranked very high and will be funded beginning in 2023. This grant will provide nearly $600,000 toward funding agricultural BMPs in our watershed. It is critical to point out that identifying and qualifying for this funding would not have been possible without our partners at the GLA and the Green Lake and Fond du Lac County Land Conservation Departments. Both the GLA and the counties provide additional funding and/or staff time that we also use as match on these critical lake protection projects.
Annual GLSD tax levy funding toward creating and maintaining agricultural BMPs – $70,000

WATERSHED COORDINATOR – In response to the current (and likely) grant funding available to be spent on agricultural lands in the watershed, it became apparent that the watershed management team needed additional staffing to help get this funding spent on the landscape. To this end, the GLSD hired Hannah Vorrie (formerly of the WIDNR), as our Watershed Coordinator. Hannah’s job is to reach out to farmers around the watershed to discuss funding programs available to them, listen to their concerns, and develop projects to reduce nutrient (both phosphorus and nitrogen) loading into Green Lake. We are very excited to be working with Hannah and appreciate the projects she has already helped to create in her few short months as a GLSD employee. A big thank you to the Green Lake and Fond du Lac County Land Conservation Departments for their partnership in the training and work
that Hannah is doing for the lake.
Annual GLSD tax levy funding (covering wage, benefits, training, and associated costs) – $100,000

USGS MONITORING OF THE LAKE AND WATERSHED – As we look to prioritize funds for BMPs in the watershed, it is critical to know where the main phosphorus loading areas are. For almost 40 years, the GLSD has been funding US Geological Survey monitoring stations on various tributaries around the watershed. In addition to the baseline stream data, each year the GLSD funds in-lake sampling to determine the lake water quality trends over time. In 2022, the GLA began funding additional USGS water quality monitoring in the watershed to provide additional information on nutrient loading/cycling in the lake and watershed.
Annual GLSD tax levy funding toward USGS monitoring – $74,000

AQWEED PROGRAM (AQUATIC PLANT HARVESTING) – The GLSD owns and operates 2 aquatic plant harvesters on Green Lake. We work within the parameters of a DNR permit which allows the program to operate between June 1st and August 31st each year. The DNR permits the program for the purpose of ensuring navigational ability for boating around the lake. The program has been in place since the 1980’s. Our crew work hard to provide good service to the lakeshore residents while working in accordance with the DNR permit. This is also a great partnership project as we receive annual donations from partners such as the City of Green Lake and the Green Lake Association for this program.
Annual GLSD tax levy funding toward operating 2 harvesters and the associated crews – $55,000

CONSERVANCY PROPERTY MAINTENANCE – The GLSD maintains 15 Conservancy Properties around our watershed. These properties were acquired for the purpose of protecting Green Lake; some lands were acquired to limit further development or to take priority phosphorus loading fields out of agricultural production. This past October, the GLSD hired Scott Neuman to work part-time on the properties to remove invasive species and assist with the coordination of projects. We could not
manage these properties without our funding partners – the Green Lake Conservancy and the Green Lake Association along with private landowner contributions.
Annual GLSD tax levy funding for management of the properties – $53,500

Please note there are many additional programs the GLSD manages such as weekly trash collection ($200,000 annually), the Green Lake Fish Rearing Facility, managing the carp harvesting program, weekly E. coli testing at the beaches, etc. that also make up the GLSD’s annual budget. We strive to keep costs contained while providing good service to the residents of the District.